Going green is a lifestyle choice that more people are making now that eco-friendly options are getting more affordable. Price has always been a sticking point for green products. Most people want to live a more environmentally friendly life and enjoy the long-term savings, but the initial investment is just too high.
Budget-conscious consumers will be happy to know that as the green movement has grown the related costs have dramatically decreased. Technological advancements, wide-spread adoption, and more competition are making energy efficient alternatives affordable for more people.
Solar Panels Increase Efficiency While Dropping in Price
One of the first things people think about when they decide to go green is installing solar panels. Up until last year, cost was the major barrier for most homeowners. Today’s solar panels are more efficient than ever, yet the cost of solar panel installation is dropping. By 2040, solar is expected to be the most affordable energy source in many countries. Larger systems are already being installed for as little as $0.4 a kilowatt.
Solar panels are a unique green upgrade in that you can actually make money using them. The improved efficiency of new panels means that homeowners can capture more solar power and increase their odds of producing excess energy that can be sold to local utility companies.
For some, the primary motivating factor for going off the grid is saving money and this factor is causing a business boom. The Enver Solar installation in San Diego CA, for example, stays busy year-round now that systems are becoming more affordable. In areas like Southern California, where the cost of living is high, solar panel systems are seen as an investment that will eventually lower housing expenses.
Competitively Priced Hybrid Vehicles
Another major cost of living is transportation. Gasoline prices have gone up and down in recent years, but even when prices are low it can’t beat the cost of driving a hybrid or electric vehicle (EV). The one thing that kept many drivers from buying a hybrid was the MSRP, which is becoming less and less of a concern.
Some of the best hybrid vehicles on the road today are less expensive than gasoline-powered cars. Why? Competition is one factor. Just about every major automaker has at least one hybrid or EV model. More competition typically translates into more competitive pricing. There are also more used models being sold now that hybrids have been on the road for two decades.
. . . And EV Charging Stations Are Cheaper Than Ever
Efficient, affordable charging stations have been another limitation for electric vehicles. You can’t just pull into a gas station and power up like you would with a traditional vehicle. EV drivers have to charge up at home, which could mean investing in a charging station.
You don’t need a super-powered charging station from Tesla to keep an EV charged up. There are dozens of home charging stations at every price point. Manufacturers like TurboCord have also developed affordable portable chargers that only need a 240-volt outlet.
Another factor that’s making EVs more affordable and convenient to drive is public charging stations. Many large cities have begun installing EV charging stations in parking lots and other high-traffic points. EV drivers can pull up and plug-in for free. Tesla has also begun installing superchargers that can power up EVs in a matter of minutes.
Home Automation Systems
If you don’t have the money to install a solar system yet, you can still improve energy efficiency with a home automation system. When home automation systems were introduced a few years ago emphasis was put on security. But people quickly realized that same technology could be used to lower energy consumption.
When home automation technology was first introduced, putting together a comprehensive system with numerous connected devices cost hundreds of dollars. Since then, the technology has been widely adopted and hundreds of products have hit the market. Consumers have more ways to control and connect home systems, which means more opportunities to save energy. It’s also easier to buy single home automation devices and build a comprehensive system over time.
It’s never been a better time to jump on the green bandwagon. The investments you make today can make life cleaner and less costly in the near future.
About the author: Katherine Smith (Kat) is a San Diego based freelance writer who enjoys writing on a wide variety of fitness and entertainment topics. In her free time Kat enjoys the beach and playing volleyball with family and friends.